Vulcan’s Peak

Actor sighting

May 10, 2007 12:24 am

People who have no interest in the RSC and the BBC should probably not bother with this post unless they just want to hear me blather.

Doctor Who spin-off Torchwood. Episode called “Ghost Machine”. Hasn’t aired yet in the U.S., don’t know if it will, but it’s on YouKnowWhere. Actor: John Normington.

He played the Fool in King Lear when I was in Stratford, and this is not an instance of fangirl squeeing. In my opinion, Lear was the RSC’s clinker of the season, and casting seemed to be part of the problem. Lear was played by Colin Redgrave, who was about 65 at the time, but looked younger — in fact, looked too young to be moaning about his age and death and decay and senility, especially when he so often shared the stage with Normington as the Fool.

Imdb.com tells me that Normington is only two years older than Redgrave, but to look at them on stage, I would have sworn there was a ten to twenty year age gap (though what really killed their scenes was the chemistry gap).

So it should surprise no one when I say that a bit part as an old man in an armchair suited Normington perfectly.

As for Torchwood itself, I’m not thrilled with it. It seems to have gotten pretty decent ratings in the UK when it aired last fall, but it seems to be missing something. It isn’t cohesive somehow, and though the characters are all okay, they’re a bit vanilla somehow. Maybe the show just needs time to settle into itself.

Mostly I watch it because I’m curious about what they’re going to do with Captain Jack, who is a very different person than the one who flirted with Rose and called it business. Not sure what’s gotten to him between there and here — responsibility, death? The next interesting question is: Given that he’s going to appear back on Who later this season, will we see the lighthearted Jack of season one or the shoot first, ask questions later, super-enigmatic Jack that he often is in Torchwood? And how much does the pre-/post-watershed scheduling difference between the two programs play into the difference in his characterization?

2 Responses to “Actor sighting”

Elf wrote a comment on May 10, 2007

The differences between the Jacks are supposed to be there. Torchwood Jack’s got quite a few centuries behind him, thanks to Rose in the season one finale of Doctor Who. (I don’t think the Doctor even noticed Jack was alive. He was worrying about his upcoming head-explodey and an unconscious Rose.) That was explained in a Torchwood episode, but don’t ask me which.

Odette wrote a comment on May 10, 2007

Hmm, I’ve only gotten through the first half of Torchwood, so I haven’t pieced Jack’s personal history together yet. I saw the 1909 flashback in the fairy episode (which, by the way, strange episode — too obviously a no-win scenerio), but since he looks the same, I thought it could have been a little jaunt in time a la the Pompeii cons he refers to in Doctor Who. I agree that the Doctor probably doesn’t know Jack is alive…which should make their reintroduction interesting.

Care to comment?